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Old 09-28-2009, 08:39 AM   #11
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Cheney View Post
This is a quality first post. to the forum.

What's your feeling on 28 mm diameter versus 29 mm? Personal preference?
Hi Mark. Thanks for the nice welcome.

I actually think there is a big difference between 28 and 29 mm diameter bars, and the choice depends upon the anticipated application.

For fast lifts (variations on the O-lifts, usually), the bar needs some flex. Once you get really good at these lifts, the "whip" will actually improve your numbers. Great weightlifters use the whip to time their drop under the bar and get extra lift. However, it takes a long time (if ever) for one to get that good. I am not there yet However, even if you can't time the whip, it feels a lot better when it lands on your front delts in a C&J or you catch it up top in a snatch. The big problem is that the steel has to be REALLY GOOD to not deform under those huge dynamic loads if the diameter is only 28mm. You need steel with a very high yield strength that is quite close to its ultimate tensile strength, yet with a moderate modulus of elasticity to allow for flex. Very few bars currently have great steel like that. Eleiko and Werksan, certainly. The high-end York bars are also pretty good. The specs look great on the Ivanko stainless steel bar with German needle bearings, but I have never used one. I am not familiar with some of the other brands, so I can't speak to them. That is the big challenge facing Glenn Pendlay in his new Pendlay HD NexGen Bearing Class bars. He is trying to match the performance characteristics of the Eleiko and Werksan bars. It is easy enough to put good needle bearings in the sleeves (German bearings are BY FAR the best) and get everything else right - the real secret is in the steel. When Glenn gets that right, his bar will be outstanding. However, that is not an easy task, as evidenced by the repeated delays MuscleDriver has faced in releasing the new bar.

Most mid-level bars (Rogue, Pendlay HD NexGen Bushing Class, etc...) make use of an EDT type steel. This is a good quality steel with a yield strength somewhere around 150,000-165,000 psi. With a 28mm diameter bar, this steel is moderately flexible and will not yield except possibly for the fastest, strongest lifters in the world. Rogue splits the difference and makes their bar 28.4mm to avoid any potential problems. It is a bit stiffer than I like, but a good compromise between steel, cost, diameter, and mixed usage (fast and slow lifts).

The IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specs dictate a 29mm bar diameter. Good mid-level bars in this category are generally made of EDT steel and are quite stiff to avoid excessive flex in the squat and bench and deadlift. The really good bars in this category actually alter the metallurgy of the steel to increase its yield strength to 200,000 psi (or beyond - 215,000 psi for the stainless steel in Ivanko's top of the line bars). That is part of what is so impressive about the B&R bar - it uses the steel of a $700+ bar in a $300 bar. There is simply NO WAY that someone could deform one of these bars under normal use, no matter how heavy they go. Of course, there is a price to be paid. With a 200,000 yield strength and a 29mm diameter, these bars (B&R, Ivanko, Eleiko Powerlifting) are very stiff. This can defeat the design objectives specified above in the "fast-lifts" discussion. That is why I argue that the B&R bar is actually a world-class powerlifting bar (slow lifts) that can serve occasional duty as a fast-lift bar for something like power cleans.

Cheap, crappy bars from China don't use steel as good as EDT and increase the diameter up to 31mm or even bigger in order to try to prevent bending. Avoid those bars at all costs. They feel crappy, look crappy, hardly spin (no real bushing inside the sleeve - just steel on steel rotation), and will bend if you look at them wrong.

Sorry about the long response. The short answer is that I am a big fan of two bars (one at 28mm for fast-lifts and one at 29mm for slow-lifts) if you can afford, it. If not, then the Rogue compromise is a good one.

Hope that answers your question.

Regards,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:43 AM   #12
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Makely View Post
Let us know what you think of the new bars. I love this "hobby" as well and am kind of gearhead with my equipment as well, but want to get the best bang for my buck when ordering equipment for sure. Thanks!
Andrew. Will do. I am expecting the "as yet unannounced high-end bar" sometime this week. Pendlay has some steel he is testing right now and, if all goes well, will be able to ship the early version of his bearing class bar in a couple of weeks.

I will post as soon as I have had some time to play with the bars. I won't be able to say anything about the "as yet unannounced high-end bar" until the manufacturer releases it publicly, however...

Regards,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:46 AM   #13
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by John S Park View Post
great review. i love my b&r bar. I'm interested to hearing what you think about the nexgen and the other one
Hi John. I am anxiously awaiting the bars. I will let you know as soon as I can.

Regards,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:16 AM   #14
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Makely View Post
By the way, don't be embarrased about your gym. It gives the rest of us something to strive for with our own. Let's see it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Fortenberry View Post
great review(s), give me some food for thought before I begin my home gym "assembly"

how bout you post some pics of your over the top home gym, i'm definitely a gear head as well...
I will take some pictures and post them.

I am sensitive to the fact that I am older and have had a long time to save up money for my "home gym." Many others may not be in the same boat.

I am not a traditional CrossFitter, but I do ascribe to many of the same ideas about fitness and health and diet and maximum power across a large energy domain. However, I am a bit more focused on getting stronger in the classic Olympic lifts and the traditional slow lifts (squat, deadlift, press, bench). Hence, my gym is not really a CrossFit gym per se, although it is NOT machine oriented.

Basically, here is what I have (please remember, I fully acknowledge how much silly overkill this is):

- World's coolest power rack
(Seriously, I am very proud of this rack. I worked extensively with Samson Equipment to customize and build the "perfect" rack. 10' tall with 3"x3"x7 gage steel, stainless steel guards on every post, 1 1/2" hole spacing, internal and external safeties, awesome chin bar, rotating adjustable band pegs on top and bottom, every imaginable attachment, chain/band/belt/bar/plate storage)
- Olympic lifting platform (8'x8') with family logo, oak center, rubber sides, attaches to and mounts underneath the power rack
- Customized dumbbell pairs, 5-150 in 5 lb increments
- KB pairs from 4-48 kg in 4 kg increments
- 600 lb certified Eleiko powerlifting set (bar, collars, certified plates)
- 450 lb certified Werk-San Olympic lifting set (men's and women's bar, collars, certified plates)
- 600 lbs of general-purpose urethane encased plates
- 2x B&R Bars for general-purpose indoor use
- 450 lb Rogue Olympic lifting set for outdoor and travel use (men's and women's bar, collars, Hi-Temp plates)
- Portable rack and bumper plate storage for outdoor use
- Safety Squat bar
- Trap/Shrug bar
- Fat bar
- Push/Pull sled for outdoor use (like a heavy-duty Prowler)
- Rubber med balls from 2-30 lbs
- Dynamax med balls from 4-12 lbs (happy to discuss why I went so light)
- All sorts of jump ropes and bands and chains etc...
- Custom design chin/dip station with assist and with adjustable rotating band pegs to allow for bands to both increase and decrease the load (I provided the drawings and Samson produced the equipment)
- Glute-Ham Machine
- Reverse Hyperextension
- Belt Squat Machine
- Dual Cable Columns with 300 lbs on each column
- Lat Pulldown
- Cable Row
- Unilateral/Bilateral Leg Press (for my family - I don't use the thing)
- Leg Extension/Leg Curl (for my family - I don't use the thing)
- WaterRower (I LOVE the feel compared to the Concept II)
- Schwinn Airdyne Comp (best bike with/arm motion I have used)
- Octane Elliptical (nice motion, good arm feel)

See, I told you it was a bit overkill

I built a 1000 square foot room in my house to accommodate the indoor gym. I store the outdoor equipment in the unused bay of the garage.

I will take pictures and post them.

Regards,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:43 AM   #15
Chris Decker
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

First, I would like to say thanks for the posts. I currently have a home gym filled with a competition Werksan bar and plates and Elitefts equipment. I am in the process of opening put a small sports training facility/warehouse gym and have a couple questions I think you can answer. I plan on going with the B&R bars but was wondering how the knurling is? Also could you post a picture specifically of the band pegs on the Samson rack? The quote I got from Samson was much better than anyone else, but a have never seen or used their band pegs only the competition bench. I lot of companies get it wrong unknowingly. I have been very pleased with the Elite equipment especially the glute/ham but the total price will be much higher than Samson.
Thanks
Chris
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:45 AM   #16
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Klessinger View Post
Couple of questions on olympic bars-

I am a high school weight training teacher. I inherited (so to speak) a lot of equipment that is older and not in the best condition. however, most of it is very functional. after reading this post on bars, I am curious what is the best way to maintain barbells? What are some things I can do to the barbells to work better for oly lifts? I am not overly familiar with "slow lift" bars and "fast" lift bars. I am assuming these are standard oly bars that were donated or purchased in the 80's and 90's. Any suggestions? WD-40? Some kind of cleaner? ..............etc.
Hi John. I envy you, I really do. My true love is health, fitness, strength, diet, etc... but I teach capital project risk management and operations management to MBA students and professional project managers. It pays the bills and allows me to build a great gym, but it is NOT my passion

I am pretty familiar with the equipment used in most high-school gyms. Most of my equipment is built by Samson (I know the Schroeder's, who own and run the company) and they are one of the major equipment suppliers to high school, college, and professional sports teams.

Bars from the 80's might very well be decent Olympic lifting bars (with bronze bushings and the smaller 28mm diameter). At that time, the O-lifts were still dominant in high schools and colleges. If you are REALLY lucky they might even have bearings.

Bars from the 90's and later will probably be the standard 31mm bars supplied to schools at that time. These are cheaper bars, usually, without particularly good bushings (if any at all) and mostly meant for the slow lifts where spin doesn't matter nearly so much. If so, they might be steel on steel sleeves (no bronze bushing) with a pretty heavy knurling, although they may have worn down over time.

You can check by looking where the bar fits inside the sleeves. See if you can see a bronze ring between the bar and the sleeve. If so, then you actually have bushings. If not, then it is probably steel on steel. There is an outside chance that they might even have bearings; if so you should be able to see the inner bearing race pressed onto the bar. Count yourself lucky if that is the case, because then these bars are worth saving.

If the bars are chromed (most likely), they may still be quite rusted in places. If they are raw steel, then they will likely be rusted all over.

If chromed, I would suggest going to Home Depot or Lowe's and purchasing several cans of WD-40 and a couple of BRASS wire brushes. The bigger ones (say 1/2" wide by 4-6" long) work well. Use brass so that the brush doesn't damage the chrome any more than it already is. Spray the bar with WD-40 and let it sit for a while (overnight would be great, if possible). Then, use the wire brush fairly aggressively over the entire bar. Wipe it down with a cloth, then reapply a light coating evenly over the entire bar.

To help improve the sleeve rotation, you can spray some WD-40 (or use 3-in-1 oil) directly between the bar and the sleeve. Both on the inside of the sleeves (where your hands would almost touch in a snatch grip) and the outside end of the sleeves.

Ahmik Jones, of SoCal CrossFit and Rogue Equipment, suggests standing the bar on end overnight to let the oil soak through the bushings using gravity. You would actually have to do this over two nights - one night for one sleeve's outside end and the other sleeve's inside end, the second night reversed.

This should help the sleeve rotation regardless of whether or not there is a bushing, but there is only so much you can do for steel on steel.

The only change I would suggest if the bar is raw steel (not chromed, or if the chrome is so beat up that it doesn't really protect the bar anymore) is to get a steel wire brush rather than a brass brush. The brass is so soft that it takes a lot of work to get rust off an old bar. The only reason to use brass is to protect the chrome; if that isn't necessary, then just go directly to steel.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:38 AM   #17
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Decker View Post
First, I would like to say thanks for the posts. I currently have a home gym filled with a competition Werksan bar and plates and Elitefts equipment. I am in the process of opening put a small sports training facility/warehouse gym and have a couple questions I think you can answer. I plan on going with the B&R bars but was wondering how the knurling is? Also could you post a picture specifically of the band pegs on the Samson rack? The quote I got from Samson was much better than anyone else, but a have never seen or used their band pegs only the competition bench. I lot of companies get it wrong unknowingly. I have been very pleased with the Elite equipment especially the glute/ham but the total price will be much higher than Samson.
Thanks
Chris
Hi Chris. I would be happy to try to help. I "gave myself permission" this morning to blow off my real work (one of the advantages to being a professor) and spend time on the internet.

First off, EliteFTS makes great stuff. Jim Wendler and Dave Tate understand powerlifting, and that is where the bands and chains originated. Their Collegiate Power Rack is a wonderful piece of equipment. The reasons I didn't go with them were: (1) they were considerably more expensive, and (2) I wanted to do a lot of custom work and they don't do their own manufacturing. Sorinex is also good, but very expensive. Legend is on a par with Samson, but not into customizing. So, my choice seemed logical at the time. After the fact, I wouldn't change my decision. Samson was wonderful to me and customized EVERYTHING. They aren't particularly good at production planning and control (it was a LONG process) and their designs are more brute-force than aesthetic, but this equipment will survive a nuclear war

The knurling on the B&R bar is FANTASTIC. At first, it might seem too light, and give the wrong initial impression. It is definitely not aggressive like most powerlifting bars. However, it somehow "grips" better than any other knurling, even better than the Eleiko bar or the super-aggressive Texas Power Bar. The more you sweat, the better it grips. It must have something to do with the combination of raw steel and the particular knurling pattern. You will never, ever complain about the knurling

However, to be balanced, I would say that you need to keep the B&R bar knurling clean. The grooves are not deep, so if you let chalk build up it will eventually interfere with a good grip. A good wire brushing and WD-40 application once a week (or better yet, each day after use) will keep the knurling clean and the bar looking like new. I find that I only need a little chalk, even on 1RM deadlift attempts - the knurling is that good.

Regarding band pegs, I completely agree with your assessment. Most people get it wrong, including Samson. The only "stock" pieces I have seen get it right are EliteFTS and Sorinex. Band pegs have to be adjustable (multiple different holes along the same pattern so as to progressively increase resistance) and have to rotate so that tension doesn't unevenly build up on one side of the pegs. You always need 2 band pegs on each side of the bar - one to properly position the line of force between the band peg and the bar, and the other to properly tension the band. Almost EVERYONE messes this up and the end result is uneven forces on the bar and an improper line of force that puts the lifter off balance during the lift.

However, that is where the power of "customization" comes in I researched the best ways to design and build band pegs and then asked Samson to build them my way. They did it and the result was a very good system. I have 1" adjustments for my bands in either a loading (as you complete the lift, the tension gets higher) or a deloading (as you complete the lift, the tension gets lower) setup. The only regret I have is that the band pegs are powder-coated rather than stainless steel, so there is a bit of friction when they rotate. If I were doing it again, I would either use bushings for the pegs or make them stainless so that the rotation friction would be less.

I will take pictures and send them to you.

By the way, I am not that far away. My home is in Georgetown, Texas (just north of Austin) and you would be welcome to come visit and check out the equipment.

I am not sure how someone is supposed to provide contact information on this board and I don't want to violate any rules. I don't post on the internet much and thus may be unaware of various "unspoken rules of engagement."

Hope this helps,
brittf
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #18
John Klessinger
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Robert,

Man, you know your stuff. Thanks for all the information! I will look tomorrow in school and measure the diameter to find out. Most of them looked copperish/ rusted. We have a few newer chrome bars but the majority are older/ dirty/ and copperish looking.

Yeah, it is a cool job. PE in general is a lot of fun. i also teach a wrestling class, and a team sports classes. First year with the weight training though. I am having a great time with it. Passing along the CF knowledge I have learned the past couple of years.

Thanks again! I will let you know what the results are.

John
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:18 AM   #19
Tim Robinson
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

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Originally Posted by Tim Robinson View Post
Excellent post, thanks. My B&R bar should be here early next week, and I am looking forward to getting it.
Just got it today. It's superb. I've had\used the Ivanko stainless bar, a york elite, york USA power bar, Iron grip, and others in the past, but I believe on initial impression I prefer the B&R to any of them. As others have noted, fantastic knurling and a great feel (to me). For 300 bucks? A++++

It should be noted that I PREFER a 29 mm bar, and do more slow powerlifting movements than oly lifts. I've always liked the York bars but wasn't crazy about the chrome plating, and the raw steel takes care of that.

I couldn't be happier. Thanks to Rogue, York and especially coaches B&R for bringing this bar to market.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:48 AM   #20
Matt Corley
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Re: Some Thoughts on Bars

Any suggestions on a fat bar? I'm going to be setting up a home gym in the next year and am doing the research now. I'd be using it for powerlifts mostly.

Thanks in advance,

matt
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